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Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality

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On 1/25/2014 at 12:48 AM, BarbaraTherese said:

I am so glad, very truly and honestly glad, that Phatmass is here and with such accepting and openhearted, open minded, members in the main.  I think I probably soon will have only you to 'talk to'.  Those around me who travelled with me during my very ill years with Bipolar tend to close ranks and avoid me if they think that I am unwell.   Their unfailing support comes only when I have been hospitalized (out of circulation and away from them and someone else's big problem) and then they are supportive when I am later released and sane once more.   My brother (see my previous post) obviously, I think, thinks that I am cracking up completely once more and loosing count of my marbles again - and doubtless this will circulate.  I have not made it generally known re private vows.  This is the first they are hearing of it and it aint easy to make it known and my coming plans re the Home Mass - oh not at all!  It is not easy to react quietly to questions that are obviously trying to test my mental state.


Thank you Phammers for being you and a true community and phamily to me!  :winner: My five star phamily and community. 


Prayer very much appreciated for sure!  I desperately need it on a few fronts. 

BarbaraTherese, After a few years without any type of spiritual direction except from Holy Scripture, EWTN, services/liturgia, and others, I find my soul urging me to seeking for one.  Someone here mentioned to go the Bishop, but I'm scared.  Besides he must have other things more important to do than to give me advice concerning Canon Law 603.  Especially at this time when I'm not sure what or where the Spirit is leading me:  canonical, private, lay contemplative, or any other option.  Grateful for your holy wisdom.

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On 2/6/2014 at 9:17 PM, BarbaraTherese said:

Thanks heaps, BM.  I am over the bouncing all over the joint with joy stage (initial) then I went into the 'stunned mullet' stage - and now I think I am back to normal just pinching myself now and then that each hurdle presented is at last past tense and all resolved happily.   Thank you so much for joining in my Joy.

I am hoping that this thread might prove helpful to those considering or interested in the vocation.  We certainly get a strong mention in the Dogmatic Constitution of The Church and also in Vita Consecrata (The Consecrated Life).....(Pope Pius XII pre Vatican2 also mentioned us in "Sacra Virginitas" - see quote box below)  - but our guiding light is the Decree on The Apostolate of The Laity http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651118_apostolicam-actuositatem_en.html


I recall the days when the thought of remaining in the laity was a dreadful thought - yet now so full of Joy and Peace.  Very long journey indeed since then changing many of my concepts including the image of myself as a contemplative nun! :)


Fortunately, everything I have read and related threads ("single" or more accurately "lay celibate vocation") here on Phatmass or CA I have recorded in my Favourites - as a 'just in case needed again'.


Sacra Virginitas"Sacred Virginity"  http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_25031954_sacra-virginitas_en.html



"6. And while this perfect chastity is the subject of one of the three vows which constitute the religious state,[9] and is also required by the Latin Church of clerics in major orders[10] and demanded from members of Secular Institutes,[11] it also flourishes among many who are lay people in the full sense: men and women who are not constituted in a public state of perfection and yet by private promise or vow completely abstain from marriage and sexual pleasures, in order to serve their neighbor more freely and to be united with God more easily and more closely. "



Grateful for the reference on the Encyclical of Pope Pius XII on Consecrated Virginity.


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Excerpt only:.........  "............But here comes Therese, who with a smile will blow down the maze of excuses we’ve constructed. She leaves us no place to hide from God or from ourselves.

And that’s why she’s dangerous. She will tell us that if we’re not holy, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

So, now what do we do? If we’re not going to ..................."..............



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Reading at Lauds

28th September 2017



Isaiah Chapter 66

"Thus says the Lord:

With heaven my throne

and earth my footstool,

what house could you build me,

what place could you make for my rest?

All of this was made by my hand

and all this is mine – it is the Lord who speaks.

But my eyes are drawn to the man

of humbled and contrite spirit,

who trembles at my word."



The above Reading ties in well with the theology and spirituality of St Therese of Lisieux, her understanding of herself and her understanding of her God.

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"The Soul that Suffers with Longing for God"

No. 1 of 3

I live with no life of my own,                                                                                         

so filled with longing love

that I am dying that I do not die.


In me there is no life at all,

and without God I cannot live:

nor God, nor self - what can I call this life

and what has it to give?

A thousand deaths each day befall me,

seeking life,

So that is why

I die because I cannot live.


This life that I am living now

is bitter death,

And I continue to die until the day

I win you.

Listen, my God! My plaint allow!

I cannot live, I know not how

Unless you live in me

And I am dying that I do not die.

                                     (To be continued..........No. 2 of 3)

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I will give you understanding and teach you the path you are to follow;

  I will keep watch over you.

Do not be like the horse and the mule,

  without understanding:

if you approach them with bit or bridle,

  they will not come near

(Psalm 31/32. Vespers 28th September 2017)



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I have good news.  Since I did not break anything in the fall, I had a talk with my doctor today and I will not be having hip replacement surgery.  She will be treating my osteoarthritis in hip, knee, lower back and neck with pain killing medication.  The major severity is in the hip affecting my left leg.  As things stand with me at this point, I am more or less at the same point as before I fell - perhaps a bit more painful but not unbearably so.  I will need to see her monthly however as she must monitor the amount of pain killing medication I use to ensure I am not overdosing nor becoming addicted - and I am happy indeed that she is monitoring.  The drawback is it means a taxi to and from the surgery.

I don't want to have cortisone injections and my doc is not keen on it either - whatever means are used, it will probably be long term.

There are reasons I prefer not to have surgery.  First, I don't want major invasive surgery unless it is absolutely necessary.  Secondly, I would have to put Buddie and Missie (my little dog and cat) in a boarding kennel and it is frightfully expensive.  Buddie is getting older now and sometimes has accidents in the house.  He is wonderful in that it is never on the carpet to date, always on the vinyl and not so difficult to clean up on vinyl.  The amazing thing, is that it seems to be odourless.  I can't smell it anyway after cleaning and neither can those visitors I have asked i.e. those that know me very well.  The problem is that when he has to go he really has to go and I am no longer by far fleet of foot to open the back door for him.   I have other problems but this is surely enough - and enough is indeed enough. :) 

I would like to get my teeth fixed and it has been a couple of years I have needed the full dental treatment, cost around $500 and that is the amount for those on low incomes.  I will be having someone come in to help me with showering.  I can no longer wash my back nor lower legs, nor clean my toenails.  It is government subsidised but all these subsidised amounts rather quickly add up to a considerable amount on low income, especially if one needs a taxi.  I have help come in for the housework and also for the garden - both subsidised by the government but still amounting to a sum for me on low income.  I am already seeing a (government subsidised)podiatrist every couple of months - taxi there and back.

But the great news for me is that I will not be having invasive surgery.  I am going to have a talk with one of our "in the know" parishioners about going to Mass with my walker.  But I can't afford it every week (I have to travel to and fro by taxi), not with the direct debits I have put in place fortnightly for the two Mass collections.

My situation is not the very best, the ideal - however experience tells me that as one works gratefully with the less than ideal as time rolls on an ideal situation gradually develops.  Confident trust and patience.  The Good Lord knows what He is about and the why's and wherefores of it all - my vocation calls for confident trust and indeed patience content to work in Peace joyful within God's Time, so mysterious to us most often.

Deo Gratius indeed and laudate Dominum!

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"To read between the lines, to penetrate"


Edited by BarbaraTherese

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"Soul That Suffers with Longing to See God" (cont.)

Part 2 of 3

What life it is that I endure

apart from You, so far away

in darkest death, without a ray

of light to guide?  No help, no cure

for all my ills, sight as I may for pity,

I still live though I am dying that I do not die.


And when I seek to ease my pain

by gazing on You in the Host

Oh then it seems I suffer most.

I cannot find you, though I strain

towards You, and anguish mounts again

With unfulfilled desire I cry

and die because I cannot die.


My comment.  This seems to me to be the suffering of a soul in The Dark Night of St John of The Cross.  It is the anguish of a soul clinging to dark Faith and only dark Faith though longing with great ardour indeed for what in reality it knows not other than that death will reveal that for which he longs. It seems that only death is the answer and the cure for all the pain of absence.


I have missed out a verse where I typed "HERE" in the poem above.  The typing in my little booklet is very small and I am short sighted.


The fish that's taken from the stream

is not without its own relief,

even in dying there's a gleam

of comfort, for the pain is brief

and ends in death.  Pity my grief!

What death like unto mine? For I

am dying, yet I do not die.

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Don't know what happened - post has now been deleted.


Please always feel free to add your own comments at any time in the unfolding of this thread. 

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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Catholic Answers - Jimmy Akin

My comment:  I was educated by Dominican nuns in college pre V2.  Back then, we certainly knew that mortal sin required grave matter, full knowledge and full consent; however, what exactly full knowledge and full consent implied with clarity for us was not really known or perhaps understood is a better word.  We all sort of thought that grave matter being present and one knew it and consented to it was sufficient for mortal sin.

Our current CCC came out in 1992 after Vatican II and full knowledge and full consent are quite clearly explained so that I had no more incorrect areas of unclear understanding in regards to mortal sin.

Still today, however, as Jimmy Akin commented grave matter and mortal sin are not clearly understood generally.  Too often today even, a Catholic will state something is mortal sin when the actuality is that it is grave matter and potentially only mortal sin. 

It is a failure of adult education in a very important area indeed.

Grave matter is the theological objective definition and rightly so.  Mortal sin however involves the subjective and personal disposition of the actual person i.e. it requires full knowledge of and full consent to what is grave matter.  The current CCC explains what that means.   Unless the three requisites for mortal sin (grave matter, full knowledge and full consent) are present, there cannot be mortal sin.


Catholic Catechism http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a8.htm

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.


1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.


1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.


Edited by BarbaraTherese

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"For centuries the church has confronted the human community with role models of greatness. We call them saints when what we really often mean to say is 'icon,' 'star,' 'hero,' ones so possessed by an internal vision of divine goodness that they give us a glimpse of the face of God in the center of the human. They give us a taste of the possibilities of greatness in ourselves."

— Joan D. Chittister, A Passion for Life

Shalom Place, Dominican Sisters of Peace

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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The Lord is indeed Infinitely Patient; however, since we know not the day nor hour of our death, nor the manner, wisdom asks we not delay heartfelt repentance and renewal of life.



Feast of St Jerome - 30th September

Below is only part of the article - to read in full go to: HERE



What we probably don’t know about St. Jerome is just what we need to know.

You probably know a few things about St. Jerome. He was a Church Father, the one who translated the Bible into Latin directly from the Hebrew texts of the Old Testament, instead of relying on the Greek translation known as the Septuagint.

You also probably know about his temper...................edit.............

......................Ultimately, this is what makes St Jerome a great saint. It’s not his translations or commentaries, not his letters or controversies. It’s the fact that he never stopped trying to be a Christian in deed as well as in name; in heaven, he has finally succeeded.


On September 30, the feast of St. Jerome

Let’s ask his intercession for perseverance in our pursuit of holiness, whatever setbacks we may encounter.

St. Jerome, pray for us!




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Pope John Paul II affirmed the worth of those individuals at the International Conference for Health Care Workers on November 30, 1996 when he spoke on Illnesses of the Human Mind:

\”Whoever suffers from mental illness \’always\’ bears God\’s image and likeness in themselves, as does every human being. In addition, they \’always\’ have the inalienable right not only to be considered as an image of God and therefore as a person, but also to be treated as such.”

These serious illnesses are not a new phenomenon. Throughout history, people who suffered from poor mental health were misdiagnosed, excluded from society or killed by their disease. Even holy men and women such as the saints dealt with mental illness.


Further reading:


"ADELAIDE, Australia, FEB. 18, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is an excerpt of an address

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, prepared for World Day of the Sick. The main events of the World Day were held Feb. 9-11 in Adelaide."


Excerpt only - further reading on above link:

"It is true that the objective disorder of sin and its consequences are manifest in the mentally ill patient; however, at the same time, there is in him the historical equilibrium of the only possible order, the order and equilibrium of the Redemption.


This is not comprehensible to a secularized mentality; it is only understood within the context of Christian optimism, which stems from a reasoned faith that tells us how in such circumstances our obligations towards a mentally ill person, on one hand, satisfy our duty to see the suffering Christ in the poor and less protected; and on the other hand the idea of seeing in the patient the love of God who has indicated him as his chosen one, in the sense that he shall not be separated from Him...."............


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1st October is the Feast of St Therese of Lisieux;

however, since in 2017 it is a Sunday

The Sunday takes liturgical precedence.



No doubt this structure (The Little Way) embodies the most authentic elements of the Order to which Therese belongs; but Therese has divided and arranged them according to her own genius. Better still, a very sure instinct, given by the Holy Spirit, enabled her to discern and sometimes to rediscover, not without merit, Carmel's purest spirit. https://www.ewtn.com/therese/carmel.htm







Excerpt from a Carmelite text on The Little Way: "Her little way is about God’s Mercy and human weakness. We need to be in touch with both these poles: God’s fullness and our emptiness.

But there is one more piece to the puzzle; Thérèse called it the centerpiece. It is confidence and trust.

My way, says Thérèse,  is all about confidence and love. We have to trust God’s Mercy in the face of our neediness. Trust or surrender into God’s arm is the bridge that connects divine Mercy and human inadequacy Our task in life is to accept God’s love and our own powerlessness, and in the strength of that love to let God heal us.

Then we can get on with life.

Full Carmelite Text on THE LITTLE WAY - Fr. Ernest E. Larkin O.Carm




Daily Reflection – September 30 - St Vincent de Paul Society FAMVIN

Sep 30, 2017


“Instead of measuring your difficulties with your strength you must measure them with the powerful help you have a right to expect from God.”
– St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

(My comment:  Sometimes the daily reflection quotes are addressed obviously to priests and/or religious.  I do not post these here.)

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I received Holy Communion again this morning here in Bethany; however, we have worked out a way I can use my walker to get to Mass as often as I can on a Sunday.  The fact that I need to travel to and from Mass by cab means that I will be unable to attend every week - unless something unexpected happens in my budget.  My walker is a large one I bought very cheap and it would be too heavy to ask anyone but a cab driver to accommodate in the boot of a car.

I am also considering finding another GP in this area who will bulk bill (meaning I pay nothing) and also who will prescribe psychiatric medication whenever necessary (some GP's will not).  I am going to ask him or her to refer me to a private orthopaedic surgeon for a second opinion.  My current GP has made a few worrying mistakes over the years and I tend to think my orthopaedic situation just could be another one.  I have cast aside her advice as well as any need for hip replacement surgery and am making efforts slowly to do a bit more each day.  So far, so good.

God's Will is often so far from my will and His Will is forever and in all things so good transcending mine.


A bit of a PS here.  Whenever I read that choosing the single celibate state under private vows to the evangelical counsels is the easy way, it always makes me laugh and the laughter overcomes any anger at the misjudgement and false concepts of my own call and vocation.

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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